Why You Should Try And Take Your Work Outdoors

Escape the feeling of entrapment of your cubicle or office (if you can).

Staying trapped indoors has created what health experts call a "nature deficit disorder" -- depression or anxiety resulting from too little time spent outside. Getting outdoors can do great things for your health. Reducing stress, lowering blood pressure and improving immune function are among nature’s health benefits. What's more, incorporating elements of nature into your workday can also give your brain a boost, resulting in increased productivity, focus and creativity.

Harvard physician Eva M. Selhub, co-author of Your Brain on Nature, says a drop of nature is like a drop of morphine to the brain, since it “stimulates reward neurons in your brain. It turns off the stress response which means you have lower cortisol levels, lower heart rate and blood pressure and improved immune response."

Turning off the sensors that are involved in the stress response allows the higher brain centers to be accessed, resulting in increased concentration, improved memory, greater creativity and productivity and reduced mental fatigue. While Selhub says spending 20 minutes a day outdoors is recommended, studies have shown even looking at photographs of nature can deliver some of the same cognitive benefits as physically being outdoors. A 2008 study at the University of Michigan showed students who looked at photos of nature performed better on tests of attention and working memory than those who looked at photographs of urban scenes.

Recently the City of Malmo in Sweden started a project where they let 60 city employees to partially work outside. They are working to become a more sustainable city, and in that process, they need city workers who are happy and content. Malmo City also become more attractive as an employer when the employees know that they have the option to work bot indoors and outdoors.

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Oskar Elmgart